Commenced in January 2007
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Edition: International
Paper Count: 2

shrub-encroachment Related Abstracts

2 Stabilization of Soil Organic Carbon within Silt+Clay Fraction in Shrub-Encroached Rangeland Shallow Soil at the University of Limpopo Syferkuil Experimental Farm

Authors: Phesheya E. Dlamini, Millicent N. Khumalo

Abstract:

Shrub-encroachment leads to a gain or loss of soil organic carbon (SOC) in previously open rangelands. The stabilization mechanisms controlling the storage of soil organic carbon (SOC) within aggregates of shrub-encroached grassland soils are poorly understood, especially in shallow plinthic soils. In this study, physical fractionation of surface soils (0- 10 cm) collected from open and shrub-encroached grasslands was conducted to determine the distribution of SOC within macro-and- microaggregates. Soil aggregates were classified into four fractions by a wet-sieving procedure, namely >2000 (large macro-aggregates), 212-2000 (small macro-aggregates), 50-212 (microaggregates) and < 50µm (silt+clay). In both shrub-encroached and open grassland soils, SOC was greater in the silt+clay fraction. In this fraction, SOC was on average 133% greater in shrub-encroached compared to open grassland. The greater SOC within the silt+clay fraction is due to the greater surface area and thus more exchange sites for carbon absorption. This implies that the SOC physically protected within the silt+clay is stored long-term.

Keywords: Stabilization, soil organic carbon, aggregate fractions, shrub-encroachment

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1 Assessing Vertical Distribution of Soil Organic Carbon Stocks in Westleigh Soil under Shrub Encroached Rangeland, Limpopo Province, South Africa

Authors: Phesheya E. Dlamini, Abel L. Masotla, Vusumuzi E. Mbanjwa

Abstract:

Accurate quantification of the vertical distribution of soil organic carbon (SOC) in relation to land cover transformations, associated with shrub encroachment is crucial because deeper lying horizons have been shown to have greater capacity to sequester SOC. Despite this, in-depth soil carbon dynamics remain poorly understood, especially in arid and semi-arid rangelands. The objective of this study was to quantify and compare the vertical distribution of soil organic carbon stocks (SOCs) in shrub-encroached and open grassland sites. To achieve this, soil samples were collected vertically at 10 cm depth intervals under both sites. The results showed that SOC was on average 19% and 13% greater in the topsoil and subsoil respectively, under shrub-encroached grassland compared to open grassland. In both topsoil and subsoil, lower SOCs were found under shrub-encroached (4.53 kg m⁻² and 3.90 kgm⁻²) relative to open grassland (4.39 kgm⁻² and 3.67 kgm⁻²). These results demonstrate that deeper soil horizon play a critical role in the storage of SOC in savanna grassland.

Keywords: soil organic carbon, vertical distribution, shrub-encroachment, savanna grasslands

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